Two Former Mississippi Police Officers, Members Of “Goon Squad”, Sentenced For Torturing Black Men

On Tuesday, a federal judge sentenced two former Mississippi police officers, who were members of the self-titled “Goon Squad,” for torturing two Black men last year.

Ex-sheriff’s deputies Hunter Elward and Jeffrey Middleton, who are both white, pled guilty along with four other “Goon Squad” members, “former Rankin County deputies Brett McAlpin, Christian Dedmon and Daniel Opdyke, as well as former Richland police officer Joshua Hartfield” who are awaiting their sentencing.

The incident occurred last January 24, 2023 in Braxton, Miss., which is southeast of Jackson, the state capital. The victims of this vicious attack were two Black men: Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker who “filed a federal civil rights lawsuit in June.”

Purportedly, a neighbor made a complaint about the two Black men and their presence in the home of a white woman. In the suit, Jenkins and Parker alleged that “the officers illegally entered the home of a woman whom Parker was helping to take care of; handcuffed, kicked, waterboarded and used Tasers on Jenkins and Parker; and attempted to sexually assault them over nearly two hours before Elward put a gun in Jenkins’ mouth and shot him,” CNN reported.

“It’s been very hard for me, for us,” stated Jenkins at a press conference on Monday before the sentences were handed down. “We are hoping for the best and preparing for the worst.”

“I relive this every day,” said Parker. “Every time I turn on the TV. Every time I get on the phone, every time I’m on social media, people are telling my story.”

Lead attorney Malik Shabazz said, “Michael Jenkins and Eddie Parker continue to suffer emotionally and physically since this horrific and bloody attack by Rankin County deputies…A message must be sent to police in Mississippi and all over America,” adding that criminal conduct of this nature “will be met with the harshest of consequences.”

U.S. District Judge Tom Lee said the ex-officer’s actions were “egregious and despicable” and that issuing a “‘sentence at the top of the guidelines range’ was justified.”

Thirty-one-year-old Elward received a 20-year prison sentence and 46-year-old Middleton and “Goon Squad” leader received a 17.5-year sentence.

In tears, Elward publicly apologized to Jenkins in court stating, “Mr. Jenkins, I see you every day and every night. I’m so doggone sorry.”

In a statement, Attorney General Merrick Garland said, “These defendants will spend 20 years and 17.5 years in prison for their heinous attack on citizens they had sworn an oath to protect.”

“The Justice Department will hold accountable officers who violate constitutional rights, and in so doing, betray the public trust,” continued Garland.

Shockingly enough, this wasn’t an isolated incident for the officers involved—an “Associated Press investigation linked some of the officers to at least four other violent encounters that left two people dead.”

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